Hethel’s newly revealed Lightweight Electric Vehicle Architecture can accommodate multiple battery capacities and mounting locations
The announcement of Lotus‘ all-new electric sports car platform might, you’d think, involve an oh-so predictable ‘skateboard‘ style. But you’d only be half right – Hethel’s Lightweight Electric Vehicle Architecture can adopt more than one battery mounting point.
Option A with the ‘Lightweight Electric Vehicle Architecture’ (LEVA) involves a ‘chest’ layout featuring a double stack of battery cells mounted across the car behind the cabin. First seen on the Evija, there are multiple benefits to this approach – first off, it means the seats can be mounted a lot lower, which then keeps the roof line down for more traditional sports car proportions.
Secondly, the resulting weight distribution would help future Lotus EVs mimic the driving characteristics of the mid-engined cars these plug-in beasts are set to replace.
The chest layout will come in two different formats – a shorter wheelbase (minimum 2,470mm) version with an eight-module, 66.4kWh battery, and a longer wheelbase (over 2,650mm) car with a 12-module, 99.6kWh pack. The former, likely to be adopted for the Elise’s successor, will use a single motor for a total output of 469bhp. The latter sounds a lot like the Exige’s successor meanwhile, and it’s a lot more powerful, with a twin-motor powertrain providing a whopping 872bhp.
Option B is the ‘slab’ type – yes, also known as the ‘skateboard’. It stores the battery under the floor, raising the driving position but opening up the possibility of a 2+2 seating arrangement. It’ll be limited to an eight-module, 66.4kWh battery pack, although there will be a choice of either single (469bhp) or dual (872bhp) motor setups. This will likely be the setup of choice for the next-generation Evora.
Just like the now 25-year-old Elise, the cars it spawned and the new Emira), the achitecture is made from bonded aluminium. It’s more advanced than the Emira’s platform, though, with a 37 per cent rear structure.
Speaking about the new platform and hinting that Lotus’ volume production EVs won’t be a bunch of fatties like a lot of their intended rivals, Lotus engineering executive director Richard Moore said:
“Today’s EVs are heavy in comparison to their ICE equivalents, so the ARMD funding has helped Lotus to innovate earlier in the product cycle and develop a new vehicle architecture that targets lightweight and performance density from conception. Rather than developing a single vehicle, it means Lotus now has the ‘blueprint’ for the next generation of electric sports cars, for future Lotus products and for the Lotus Engineering consultancy to commercialise.”